33 Best NFL Logos of All Time

Since the 1970 AFL/NFL merger, football has become the most popular sport in the United States.  You don’t have to go far to find a die-hard football fan, and odds are you have a favorite team of your own.  But your favorite team didn’t always look like it does today.  The NFL’s throwback uniforms prove that, and so do the following logos I deem as the best professional football has ever seen.

Oakland Raiders

The Oakland Raiders played in the AFL from 1960 until the merger, and their logo hasn’t changed all that much in terms of concept.  I love the comparison between the Oakland Raiders logo then and now – it’s history you can see as the game transitioned from soft leather helmets to hard helmets.

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San Francisco 49ers

This was the original 49ers logo from 1946 to 1967.  I don’t know why they didn’t keep it!

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Pittsburgh Steelers

The Steelers used this logo of a steelworker kicking a football from 1960 to 1968.

Pittsburgh Steelers Logo - Chris Creamer's Sports Logos Page - SportsLogos.Net -_2012-06-18_12-59-54

Chicago Bears

This wasn’t the first logo for one of the sport’s oldest franchises, but it’s my favorite.  The Bears had it from ‘54 to ‘73.

Chicago Bears Logo - Chris Creamer's Sports Logos Page - SportsLogos.Net - Mozil_2012-06-18_13-05-22

Philadelphia Eagles

If you’ve been an NFL fan for a long time, you probably remember this old-school Eagles logo, circa 1987.

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Cleveland Browns

From 1950 until 1969, the Browns’ logo was an elf-like creature called a Brownie.

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Cincinnati Bengals

The Bengals used this running tiger logo in 1968 and 1969.

Cincinnati Bengals Logo - Chris Creamer's Sports Logos Page - SportsLogos.Net - _2012-06-19_10-00-20

Detroit Lions

This was the Lions’ logo from 1961 to 1969.  Almost looks like it should be on the hood of a car, doesn’t it?

Detroit Lions Logo - Chris Creamer's Sports Logos Page - SportsLogos.Net - Mozil_2012-06-19_10-03-23

Minnesota Vikings

While the other logos listed so far have been teams’ primary logos, this is an alternate Vikings logo introduced in 1998.

Minnesota Vikings Logo - Chris Creamer's Sports Logos Page - SportsLogos.Net - M_2012-06-19_10-07-47

Atlanta Falcons

This Falcons logo, employed by the team from ‘66 to ‘89, was ahead of its time.  The team’s contemporary logo is more a less a modern version of the same.

Atlanta Falcons Logo - Chris Creamer's Sports Logos Page - SportsLogos.Net - Moz_2012-06-19_10-27-52

New Orleans Saints

The modern Saints logo is reminiscent of the old, given the fleur-de-lis centerpiece.

New Orleans Saints Logo - Chris Creamer's Sports Logos Page - SportsLogos.Net - _2012-06-19_11-16-28

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

From 1976 until 1996, the Bucs donned this swashbuckling logo.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers Logo - Chris Creamer's Sports Logos Page - SportsLogos.Net _2012-06-19_11-19-55

Buffalo Bills

The Bills still feature a buffalo, but their logo today is more exciting than this one used from 1970 to 1973.

Buffalo Bills Logo - Chris Creamer's Sports Logos Page - SportsLogos.Net - Mozil_2012-06-19_11-23-18

New England Patriots

The Pats have featured this logo, originally used from 1971 until 1992, on their throwback uniforms.

New England Patriots Logo - Chris Creamer's Sports Logos Page - SportsLogos.Net _2012-06-19_11-26-11

New York Jets

This is my favorite Jets logo, used by the team in 1963.

New York Jets Logo - Chris Creamer's Sports Logos Page - SportsLogos.Net - Mozil_2012-06-19_11-31-18

New York Giants

The sleek and square logo was employed by the Giants in 1975.

New York Giants Logo - Chris Creamer's Sports Logos Page - SportsLogos.Net - Moz_2012-06-19_11-48-30

Washington Redskins

Before they used a feathered Indian head, the Redskins employed an arrowhead from ‘65 to ‘69.

Washington Redskins Logo - Chris Creamer's Sports Logos Page - SportsLogos.Net -_2012-06-19_11-50-47

Denver Broncos

The Broncos used this logo featuring a football player riding a bronco from 1962 until 1967.

Denver Broncos Logo - Chris Creamer's Sports Logos Page - SportsLogos.Net - Mozi_2012-06-19_11-58-54

Kansas City Chiefs

From 1963 until 1969, the Chiefs’ logo featured a chieftain running a warpath through Missouri.

Kansas City Chiefs Logo - Chris Creamer's Sports Logos Page - SportsLogos.Net - _2012-06-19_12-01-04

San Diego Chargers

Even though I’m not a big fan of shield logos, I love this Chargers logo used from ‘61 to ‘73.

San Diego Chargers Logo - Chris Creamer's Sports Logos Page - SportsLogos.Net - _2012-06-19_12-03-59

Seattle Seahawks

This is one seriously wicked logo, used as an alternate for the Seahawks in 2002.

Seattle Seahawks Logo - Chris Creamer's Sports Logos Page - SportsLogos.Net - Mo_2012-06-19_12-09-14

St. Louis Rams

Before the Rams were in St. Louis, they were in Los Angeles.  And this was their logo from 1973 to 1980.

Los Angeles Rams Logo - Chris Creamer's Sports Logos Page - SportsLogos.Net - Mo_2012-06-19_12-13-52

Baltimore Ravens

The Ravens don’t have a storied history spanning many decades, but they do have some colorful logos.  Case in point:  This striking 1999 alternate.

Baltimore Ravens Logo - Chris Creamer's Sports Logos Page - SportsLogos.Net - Mo_2012-06-19_12-26-13

Green Bay Packers

The Packers employed this logo from 1951 to 1955.

Green Bay Packers Logo - Chris Creamer's Sports Logos Page - SportsLogos.Net - M_2012-06-19_12-29-07

Houston Oilers

That’s right, the Oilers.  Before the Texans claimed Houston, the Oilers called it home.  This was their logo from 1980 through 1996.

Houston Oilers Logo - Chris Creamer's Sports Logos Page - SportsLogos.Net - Mozi_2012-06-19_12-32-05

Baltimore Colts

The Colts used to be in Baltimore (Johnny Unitas!), and this was their logo from ‘61 to ‘78.

Baltimore Colts Logo - Chris Creamer's Sports Logos Page - SportsLogos.Net - Moz_2012-06-19_12-34-33

Jacksonville Jaguars

The Jags don’t have a long history of logos, but this alternate introduced in 1999 is pretty cool.

Jacksonville Jaguars Logo - Chris Creamer's Sports Logos Page - SportsLogos.Net _2012-06-19_12-37-15

Tennessee Titans

This 1999 alternate lends the Titans a decidedly different look.

Tennessee Titans Logo - Chris Creamer's Sports Logos Page - SportsLogos.Net - Mo_2012-06-19_12-39-17

Carolina Panthers

This Panthers alternate logo is one of my all-time favorites; it was employed from 1995 through 2011.

Carolina Panthers Logo - Chris Creamer's Sports Logos Page - SportsLogos.Net - M_2012-06-19_12-40-40

Miami Dolphins

The Dolphins’ logo hasn’t changed much in concept through the decades, but this unused helmet concept from 1997 shows what might have been.

Miami Dolphins Logo - Chris Creamer's Sports Logos Page - SportsLogos.Net - Mozi_2012-06-19_12-44-09

Arizona Cardinals

Like some other teams, the Cardinals have had little variation in their logos.  This one was introduced in 1988.

Phoenix Cardinals Logo - Chris Creamer's Sports Logos Page - SportsLogos.Net - M_2012-06-19_13-32-01

Dallas Cowboys

The Cowboys have featured a star logo for more than 50 years, but they still experimented with this alternate from 1960 to 1970.

Dallas Cowboys Logo - Chris Creamer's Sports Logos Page - SportsLogos.Net - Mozi_2012-06-19_13-35-07

Canton Bulldogs

Often regarded as the first professional football team, the defunct Canton Bulldogs can be remembered at the Hall of Fame in Canton. The Bulldogs never played in the NFL, but it’s still cool to look back on their 1922 logo.

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Want to see more vintage, alternate, and contemporary NFL and professional football logos?  Check out Chris Creamer’s Sports Logos.

About the Author:

Brian Morris serves in various capacities as a freelance writer, content developer and public relations specialist for growing small businesses. His previous roles included managing editor for a hometown newspaper and club bartender for a group of quasi-alcoholics. When he’s not writing, he’s usually counting lost follicles and wondering what he ever did with his time before his two children were born.

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  • David

    Where is the Seahawks logo? It’s about the only sports logo that is a respectful nod to Native American artwork plus it just looks good, especially the original logo. For whatever reason they decided that the new hawk needed more attitude when they redid their look.

  • David

    Oh wait. I see it. I was looking for their helmet graphic. The one above looks like it is from Heavy Metal. :)

  • http://blog.psprint.com Sonia Mansfield

    I’m a big fan of that old 49er logo. They should bring it back!

  • Brian Morris

    It certainly does, David! But hey, there’s nothing wrong with injecting a bit of attitude into a logo for a profession that puts you at an elevated concussion risk every week!

    The 49ers logo is sweet … I wish a lot of these teams would bring the vintage “throwback” logos back! Then again, the modern Dolphins helmet concept would be a unique treat.

  • http://billsportsmaps.com/ Bill

    Hi, nice post. You have an error in your text – The Canton Bulldogs did play in the NFL, and were NFL champions in 1922 and 1923.
    See this, from ‘Canton Bulldogs’ (en.wikipedia.org,
    {excerpt}…”The Canton Bulldogs were a professional American football team, based in Canton, Ohio. They played in the Ohio League from 1903 to 1906 and 1911 to 1919, and its successor, the National Football League, from 1920 to 1923 and again from 1925 to 1926. The Bulldogs would go on to win the 1917, 1918 and 1919 Ohio League championships. They were the NFL champions in 1922 and 1923.” …{end of excerpt}.

  • Tony McC

    Huge Steelers fan and love the logo till this day!!! Some very interesting logos and thank goodness some if them have changed!!! Lol

  • Brian Morris

    Bill, thanks for your input! You’re absolutely right they played in what was the NFL, though that league is different from today’s merged NFL/AFL league. Thanks for the catch!

    Tony, I absolutely agree – good thing some have changed! That being said, I actually like the old Jets logo better, and the proposed Dolphins helmet logo would have been sweet!

  • rdb

    That Cardinals logo was around well before 1988.

  • Brian Morris

    RDB, you’re absolutely right. That logo was actually introduced in 1970, but it was the St. Louis Cardinals. When the Cardinals moved to (Phoenix) Arizona in 1988, they retained the logo design; and that’s where I got the year. Thanks for the correction!

  • Ace626

    anyone have an image of the proposed 49ers helmet change from the mid 90′s? seems like it’s vanished from history.

  • Brian Morris

    Ace, this link has a photo and story about the proposed helmet change you describe: http://www.examiner.com/article/what-the-49ers-helmets-could-have-been-but-never-was

  • Ace626

    Brilliant. I was beginning to think the organization had deleted all record of that ever having happened. I know I would. Those things were horrible.

  • Brian Morris

    Haha, right on Aces! It’s definitely not the best helmet design I’ve ever seen, though the shock value might give them a competitive edge in this year’s Super Bowl!

  • NMVike

    The “V” Viking logo you talked about was NOT introduced in 1998. That logo has been used since the old Metropolitan Stadium days in the late 60′s and 70′s (maybe earlier??, I am not old enough). I am not a Minnesota native, but as my first memories at about 5 years old watching Joe Kapp and the Purple People Eaters on TV from the great state of New Mexico, becoming an immediate fan, I recall seeing the V logo on the 50 yard line back then. Only in the last few years (98 I guess) have they brought the logo back on the field every now and then. Love both symbols (Viking head and the V)! Why did you not publish the Viking head as well, it’s better than the stupid Cowboy one with the helmet coming off because of the bucking horse.

  • Brian Morris

    NMVike, thank you for your input! The “V” Viking logo you refer to was indeed used as part of a wordmark used by the Vikings from 1961 until 1981. I have no doubt you saw the standalone “V” painted at midfield. However, the standalone “V” wasn’t considered an official Vikings logo until 1998, and even then it was considered an alternate. In addition, the contemporary “V” logo has a yellow stroke, whereas the former wordmark did not. That isn’t to say it was never painted that way. You can find this information here: http://www.sportslogos.net/logos/list_by_team/172

    All that being said, it’s pretty cool that the “V” logo today is hardly different from the “V” logo used in the 60′s. The designer was ahead of his time.

    As far as the Viking head goes, beauty is subjective. I simply do not like it as well as the alternate Cowboy logo.

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